What Are the Best Constitutional Law Schools?

Read about three top schools that you might consider for your constitutional law studies. Review the national rankings and law school rankings for these schools, and get info on the constitutional law programs they offer. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in the Best Constitutional Law Schools?

As a prospective law student with an interest in Constitutional law, you might want to choose a school that offers a variety of extracurricular opportunities, such as student-run journals or Supreme Court clinics, as well as facilities dedicated to the study of constitutional law. You also might want to seek a law school that's earned recognition from U.S. News & World Report or another rankings source. Additionally, you could look for a school that features joint degree programs, either on its own campus or in conjunction with other universities.

What Are Three of the Best Constitutional Law Colleges or Universities?

Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA

U.S. News & World Report placed Stanford's law school in a tie for second-best in the country in 2016. The Mills Legal Clinic's 12 subordinate programs include the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The Stanford Constitutional Law Center is supported by the Constitutional law program, one of ten potential areas of study. University resources also include the Hoover Institution, a think tank dedicated to support of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law through representative government, and the Center on Democracy, Development & the Rule of Law.

Student-run journals include the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Stanford Law & Policy Review. The Robert Crown Law Library works with faculty and students on research projects for campaign finance and elections. Besides the Juris Doctor (J.D.), the Law School offers 28 joint degree programs. Students can earn a Stanford law degree combined with an MPA from Princeton or a Master of Arts (M.A.) in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Advanced law degree programs include the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and a parallel program for international fellows in international legal studies (SPILS), a Doctor of the Science of Law program for those who have successfully completed the SPILS program and a nonprofessional Master of Legal Studies for students who are conducting interdisciplinary research. Representative degrees include:

  • J.D.
  • J.D./Doctor of Medicine
  • J.D./Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • LL.M.
  • Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
  • Master of the Science of Law
  • Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD)

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

The Ivy League's Penn was ranked seventh in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report evaluation of law schools. The Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies includes a Supreme Court clinic that enables students to work on real Supreme Court cases. This is one of 11 clinics, which also include a program for lawyering in the public interest. Penn Law, the first law school to win the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award, supports the Toll Public Interest Center. Pro bono service is required of every Penn law student.

Penn Law's 13 institutes and programs include the Center for Constitutional Law and Related Fields and the Institute for Law and Philosophy. Students can become editors of the Journal of Constitutional Law. Penn Law partners with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to sponsor symposia and speakers.

Joint degree programs and international studies opportunities are available. The Human Rights Fellows program supports internships in the U.S. and abroad between the first and second year of law school. Formal arrangements with law schools in Japan, Germany, China, Israel and Spain facilitate international study. Students can earn a joint degree in business law with Sciences Po (a French Master of Law degree) in Paris, a joint J.D. and LL.M. from Hong Kong University or a J.D. with an international business M.A. through the Wharton Business School's Lauder Institute. Penn Law also offers a certificate program for non-law master's, doctoral and M.D. candidates who need to understand issues facing their fields. These degrees are available:

  • J.D.
  • J.D./Doctor of Medicine
  • J.D./Master of Business Administration
  • J.D./Ph.D. in American Legal History
  • J.D./Master of Public Affairs
  • LL.M.
  • Master of Comparative Laws (LLCM)
  • Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA

W&M ranked sixth in U.S. News & World Report's listing of top public schools in 2016, and its law school was ranked 33rd in the same year. This commitment to service made W&M the only Virginia institution of higher learning named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction. Slightly under 700 students are enrolled in the W&M law school.

Chief Justice John Marshall's papers are among the holdings of W&M's 400,000-volume Wolf Library. According to the university, its Bill of Rights Journal is the third-most-cited student-edited Constitutional law journal, based on an annual survey conducted by Washington and Lee University.

In its citizen lawyer tradition, W&M Law School hosts the Institute of Bill of Rights Law, the Property Rights Project and programs for election law, human security and comparative legal studies and post-conflict peace building. The comparative program facilitates international public service internships, and the Legal Skills program offers simulated law firm and client training. The main law degrees available include:

  • J.D.
  • J.D./Master of Business Administration
  • J.D./Master of Public Policy
  • J.D./M.A. in American Studies
  • LL.M.

More Top Constitutional Law Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Harvard University4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
University of Chicago4-year, PrivateChicago, IL
Northwestern University4-year, PrivateChicago, IL
Duke University4-year, PrivateDurham, NC
New York University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY
Columbia University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY
University of California--Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA
University of Virginia4-year, PublicCharlottesville, VA
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI
Yale University4-year, PrivateNew Haven, CT

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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